Friday, April 30, 2010

The New Paltz Regatta: Call it a conceptual pleasure

I love the idea of the New Paltz Regatta, but I never attend.

Hot weather is predicted. The Wallkill is still cold as hell, however. I'm pretty certain of that.

The Regatta parade starts at 1:00 p.m., somewhere, and winds up down by the river at the bridge.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

$200 Grand for what?

Oh, but wait, it's "progressive and future oriented," so it's O.K.:
The logo is the tip of a marketing iceberg that goes back six years and involves much more than the new logo, according to David Eaton, the college's vice president for enrollment management. Most of that money, he said, went to research designed to tell the college what its public perception was, so that it could build on that information.
So the research told the college that the public perceived it as a five-year-old playing with colorful plastic blocks?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Paltz Times reporter defends use of sexual slur in his article on Gardiner Tea Party rally

Pam O'Dell, who organized the Tea Party rally held on Tax Day in Gardiner, wrote a thoughtful letter to the New Paltz Times (4/29/10 edition) in which she objected to the paper's use of the term "teabaggers" in its coverage of the rally when referring to participants. Reporter Mike Townsend used the term or a variant of it in the headline and twice in the story he wrote about the protest.

Townsend, in a response that is twice the length of O'Dell's letter, explains that people associated with the Tea Party movement have used "teabagger" to refer to themselves and so therefore he is justified in using a term that is slang for one person lowering his testicles into another person's mouth.

Townsend's sort of rationalization is on the order of referring to folks at an NAACP rally with the "n-word" because there were some young rappers on the scene talking about themselves like that. The analogy is not precise, but it's close enough to explain why a local newspaper doesn't let a reporter do what Townsend did. I blame the editor more than I do him, but he has to share responsibility.

The term was first used about Tea Party participants by the half-wit CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and was quickly picked up by other dimwits throughout the media. It spread very quickly and was absolutely used as a term of derogation. That some Tea Party participants turned it around and used it as a self-applied term, either to show that it did not bother them or because they were not hip enough to know the street use of "teabagger," hardly excused Cooper or his imitators and hardly excuses Townsend or his editor, or substantiates his weak rationalization.

Would Townsend like it if his own grandparents, for instance, were referred to with a term like that in their local newspaper?

If not, then he should rethink his rationalization. If he says yes, that he wouldn't care, then the New Paltz Times needs to find someone with a clear sense of professional responsibility to handle reporting assignments. I understand that I write only theoretically in that last sentence, because I know that the Times has insufficient standards to make that sort of judgement.

The agenda for tonight's village board meeting

Is at this link.

There will be more discussion of the new budget, along with the usual nuts and bolts items.

I'll try to watch, and I mean "try" as in see if the broadcast is watchable. This is becoming a rather big issue for me. I think it's one thing for the current board to allow themselves to be framed by such unflattering and dysfunctional public access broadcasts. But now that this has gone on for so long, it has gone beyond their personal tolerance and begun to affect the institution in which they only hold temporary offices.


Linked at an article in today's Times, this piece from ten days ago is about the cyberspace future of education:
Thousands of pieces of free educational material — videos and podcasts of lectures, syllabuses, entire textbooks — have been posted in the name of the open courseware movement. But how to make sense of it all? Businesses, social entrepreneurs and "edupunks," envisioning a tuition-free world untethered by classrooms, have created Web sites to help navigate the mind-boggling volume of content. Some sites tweak traditional pedagogy; others aggregate, Hulu-style.
Follow the link for descriptions and links to what's available at just a few sites.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A cold beautiful April day in New Paltz

It punctuates several days of comings and goings.

A mother fox and five young foxes hanging out in a neighbor's driveway.

Another neighbor moves out and a new one starts moving in.

An old New Paltz friend, from the heavyweight division of college drinking pals, pays a visit for the weekend along with his old girlfriend from college who he hasn't seen for maybe longer than he hasn't seen me. He has become an incredibly successful stock broker, looks almost exactly as he did 30 years ago, and still plays in a rock band. Drives a luscious BMW SUV that I compared to the F-22 Raptor.

We have dinner at 36 Main and everyone is happy with the food except me, so I defer to their judgement. I think I ordered something I was destined not to like.

My old creative writing professor who is now a neighbor downaways here on Squirrel Kill Alley stops by. He is graciously reading my book while he nervously waits for his own to be published. You'll hear about it here when it's available.

And I start this new blog, New Paltz Journal: The Local Edition. Have a lot of ideas for it, but it always comes down to time, time, time. Man, can I waste it and/or burn it up doing this and that.

We'll see what happens.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Does New Paltz Times reporter know that "tea bagger" is a sexual slur?

I don't know. (See the story here.) So I'm asking. Anyone who pays attention knows what it means, and one assumes a certain baseline attention-paying on the part of newspaper reporters. Surely the editor who passed the story through and wrote the headline must know.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steven Poskanzer, SUNY New Paltz President, Moves On

Not a favorite of mine, Poskanzer treated the New Paltz community like a stepchild.

His comment, in response to community residents expressing a desire to make use of campus facilities, that residents of a prison town wouldn't expect to use the prison facilities, should be engraved on a brass plaque beneath his portrait and hung wherever portraits of past presidents are hung on the campus.

The Times Herald-Record has more details.

Update: The Freeman of Kingston has the story as well.

New Paltz School District wants another 3%

A government bureaucracy that faces no market forces, offers a compulsory program, and funds itself with compulsory taxation, only throws the taxpayers a loaded pitch, which gives them the choice of voting on "more" or "more more." There's no such thing as a reduced budget; that's always portrayed as an impossible calamity.

The Freeman of Kingston reports:
NEW PALTZ — School district trustees on Wednesday agreed to ask for voter approval of a $48.83 million budget that would raise the tax levy 2.95 percent.
The spending plan representing a 0.74 percent increase of $360,000 was adopted 6-1 after more than an hour of deliberations by the school board. Trustee Edgar Rodriguez was the dissenting vote.

Under the plan there would be a $32.62 million property tax levy representing an increase of $935,000.
During the recent huge local debate over the proposed renovation of the Middle School, a proposition defeated overwhelmingly by voters, the School District advertised the cost to taxpayers as a mere 1% increase on the tax levy for an average home. In the wake of that vote, I suggested that if a 1% increase was so painless, then the District could surely live with a 1% decrease in its next annual budget, and that it would also absorb the reduction in state funding, as opposed to having taxpayes make up the difference.

So the voters need to decide, again, just how much more of their money they are willing to part with to finance outrageous contracts with the teachers union.

They have no choice about anything but the increase: "More" or "More More" is what it comes down to. But it's a start.